Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Empty Handed

British Mystery
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jo A. Hiestand will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY 

One dark night artist Craig Saxton went missing from his village.  His body was found thirty-two hours later in the river, floating like a bobber on a fishing line. Rumors swell like tidal waves: did his ex-wife or his fiancée’s father kill this likeable young man? Or was it simply a case of jealousy by the village’s other artist? Now, two years later, Craig’s fiancée hopes ex-police detective Michael McLaren can find out. From speaking to villagers, McLaren quickly realizes that what appears to be a straightforward investigation is fast becoming as tangled as fishing lines. Are the fish poaching incidents, the reappearance of the local ghost, and assaults on him merely to muddy the investigative waters, or are they connected to Craig’s death? McLaren has his hands full. They become even fuller when a nemesis from his past appears one night, bent on revenge. 

And the inevitable struggle opens a new future for one man…and leaves the other empty handed.

My Review...
This is Book 10 of Jo Hiestand’s McLaren Mysteries series. Even before I finished it, I could tell Hiestand had done it again. Created another excellent, well-written mystery; one with even more twists and turns than before. She’s made McLaren a little more melancholy, yet still the same understanding, sharp, and tough cop that always attracts me. He’s recovered just a bit from the death of his fiancé and may even be ready to let himself feel again. He’s still running as hard as he can to help someone in need, but this time he might have to help himself.

The author played with my mind a little or at least that’s how it felt; all in a good way. I was sure I knew the killer because of a few little tips I thought I had found, and then, well, suffice it to say I was wrong. I’ve read all of the books in this series, and I’ve learned that sometimes if you are really paying attention, Hiestand will stick in some tiny little hints. Sometimes it’s to help you maybe figure out the killer a page or two before the very end of the book or… they might just be red herrings.

The twists and turns in the story work out well here, and I think it’s because the author is so very good at descriptive writing. The little village becomes real as does the pub that McLaren and Jamie have a pint in while trying to work through the crime. The dialog between them is smooth reading, not always an easy thing to do. Hiestand is good at making us be each character now and then, and just as good at painting a scene, so you feel as if you are there. 

Being a part of the story and loving the main characters in them is what causes readers to watch for the next book as quickly as they’ve finished the current one. Now I feel sort of “empty-handed”. Any more coming Ms. Hiestand?

Read an excerpt...
They settled at a table they considered theirs. It was in a corner, diagonal to the pub’s front door. Sitting with the wall behind them and their faces to the door was a habit McLaren kept from his days as a working detective. And it was one habit he was in no rush to break.

Jamie set his glass mug on a cardboard beer mat and leaned forward slightly. The reddish streaks in his otherwise brown hair shone under the overhead light. “Congrats on solving the murder of your uncle’s first fiancée, by the way. Do you like his new bride? What’s her name?”

“Karen. And yes, I like her. I wasn’t too sure when I first met her, but she has a lot of inner strength. She’s good for him.”

“And where are you off to now?”


“That’s not far. Near Hartington, isn’t it? On the River Dove?”

“Yeah. Small place. And it sounds like an odd case. The woman, Victoria Childs, doesn’t know who else to turn to for help.”

“So, she turns to you.” Jamie smiled, his eyebrow raised. “She’s made a brilliant choice.”

McLaren let the comment pass unanswered. “She wants me to find the killer of her fiancé. His name’s Craig Saxton. He was an artist, quite prominent in the local area, though you couldn’t swear it by me.”

“You frequent art galleries only when your sister has something to exhibit.”

McLaren nodded, his fingers sliding down the sides of his glass. “Anyway, this Craig Saxton had been missing for one and a half days. His body was found against the sluice gate in the river.”

“Not good.”

McLaren snorted at the understatement. “He was also missing his right hand.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British.  Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there during her professional folk singing stint.  This intimate knowledge of Britain forms the backbone of both the Peak District mysteries and the McLaren cold case mystery series.

Jo’s insistence for accuracy, from police methods and location layout to the general feel of the area, has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research.  These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.

In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English.  She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.

Her cat Tennyson shares her St. Louis home.

Amazon buy link:


  1. Thanks for providing a stop on the book review tour, Kathy. And thanks for the nice review.

  2. Any time. It was a good book.

  3. Replies
    1. I think so too! ;-) Thanks for stopping by, Edgar.

  4. Wow... What a review!! And the cover is beautiful.. Eye-catching!!

    1. Mya, thanks for dropping by. Yes, Kathy wrote a very nice review. Glad you like the cover -- I do, too! ;-)

  5. Great review, sounds like my kind of book!

    1. Hi, Victoria. Thank you. Hope you like it if you read it!

  6. Thank you, Kathy, for hosting the book today. Good luck to everyone who took time to leave a comment.

  7. I appreciate the review!



Hateful and Unrelated Comments Will Be Deleted. Anonymous comments are invalid to enter into giveaways.

If you see any spam comments, please notify me. My email is on the "About Me" page. Thanks much.